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You’ll learn from Cindy Ambuehl that luxury comes in all shapes and sizes, listings generate more listings, neighbors sell neighborhoods and much more including a story about a bathtub nearly overflowing onto unsuspecting open house attendees, sabotaged by a competitor. This is an episode you won’t want to miss. Leave a review and let us know what you think about this episode.
INTRO: [00:00:00] Branding is extremely important and I don’t know that all agents understand how imperative it is, branding is really important because it’s also very personal and when you have so many agents out there and they’re all hustling and they’re all working, what differentiates one from another? So, what is your brand?
Are you a luxury brand? Are you the people’s brand? Are you a selfish brand? Like literally, your brand tells the public so much about who you are. My brand and I’ve always focused on it is one. That’s very personal. It’s very approachable and its very luxury driven. Branding identifies who you are and helps to set you apart from all the others.
Warren Dow: [00:00:51] Welcome to DIGS Influencer podcast: The Titans of Real Estate. The show that provides direct access to the real estate industry’s top movers and shakers is they share invaluable insight on how to best navigate and succeed in any market. I’m your host, Warren Dow founder and CEO of M3 media and Publisher of DIGS Magazine. In this episode Cindy Ambuehl.
Thank you to our show sponsor Bo Concept.
Today’s guest is truly special. Before becoming a real estate Superstar. She was an actress appearing on several well-known TV series including Seinfeld a former model who is signed by Judith Fontaine modeling and talent agency, and today is ranked as one of the top 40 real estate agents in the nation and recently moved to Compass.
Please welcome to the show Cindy Ambuehl.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:01:43] Thank you. So nice to be here.
Warren Dow: [00:01:45] Awesome. So, let’s start from the very beginning Cindy. Where did you grow up?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:01:48] Grew up in Orange County?
Warren Dow: [00:01:50] Whereabouts?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:01:51] I grew up in Anaheim, my dad was a cop and my mom was a housewife. We live there all of my all my school years.
Warren Dow: [00:01:58] So that was my… You ready answered my second question, what do your parents do for a living? So, how long did you guys live in
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:02:03] Anaheim? We my dad was hired by the Anaheim PD when I was three months old and live there all the way through when I went to college and then I moved out to LA after that.
Warren Dow: [00:02:14] Very cool and do you have a big family?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:02:17] I have just a sister. One sister is a few years older.
Warren Dow: [00:02:20] Awesome. Awesome. So, what kind of trouble did you get into when you were when you were young and Anaheim?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:02:25] You know, it’s funny. I was such a tomboy and my sister was always the quiet one and she’d be home playing the piano and reading and I’d be out playing football in the streets with the Palomino Brothers.
I think that’s why God gave me all boys now because I love football and sports, but I was I was a handful, I was very stubborn, and I had a strong will.
Warren Dow: [00:02:48] Well that probably carried with you and your career!
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:02:50] Right I think it did, for sure.
Warren Dow: [00:02:51] So did you have any early like looking back career aspirations when you were young? Did you say well, I want to grow up. I want to be.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:02:59] Well, I knew growing up I wanted to control my own destiny. Like I always knew that is as much as one can, I knew I wanted to be my own boss and so I’m very strong-headed that way and I knew that I work really hard. I have great work habits, and I knew from all of
going through school and although, I carried two jobs when I was in school. So, I’ve never been afraid of hard work and I always wanted to just be my own boss and put that to good use.
Warren Dow: [00:03:29] Very cool and what we’ll get to the you probably get to the two jobs, but I’m gonna ask you spent 20 years in the entertainment industry.
What was that like?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:03:36] Amazing. I actually loved it and it was 22 years and the great thing about it was I was in the entertainment industry to really good time when I was in my 20s and 30s because at that time there were so many sitcoms. You know now it was really before cable took over and so I was really lucky to be able to be a 5-10 blonde who understood jokes, right?
So, I was able to book several sitcoms and it was just fun. We spent every day on set, you know coming up with. Funny things to make people laugh we’d be on our feet in front of a live audience on Friday night. So, you get that immediate gratification from your hard work and it was just wonderful.
It was a lot of fun. I loved it
Warren Dow: [00:04:22] And I’m sure you have some really cool stories. We’re going to I’m going to ask you about a few of those later. So was when you before you got into acting was that a goal of yours when you were like, hey, I want to become an actress with some point or…
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:04:35] I always had a bug for it.
Like I really thought that’s what I would end up doing. But I also knew it was really important for me to go to college and I studied business with a major in math. So, my degree is in business & probability and statistics. Wow, so I really thought well, that’s what I should do. I know I want to be an actress, but I should get into a corporate structure and try to turn failing businesses, which was what I was focused on and I modeled my way through college.
My folks didn’t have a lot of money to put me through school. So, I modeled my way through college and then it just became a natural progression, you know to then start doing commercials. And from there, I definitely knew that’s what I wanted to do, and I went for an interview after graduating for a big company to hire me to do their probability statistics.
Turn their failing company. Sat down ask the gentleman what I’d be making, and I said, thank you so much for your time. And I walked out because I was making that by traveling the world doing commercials. Sure. What’s more fun? Let’s see so I immediately started. Doing commercials and bought my first house with my residuals off of Budweiser commercials.
Warren Dow: [00:05:48] Oh, wow. That’s your story. That’s great. So, where was that? First House
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:05:51] Anaheim little straightening Evelyn? Yes, very cool brand-new Darling House. How long queue Budweiser?
Warren Dow: [00:05:57] That’s awesome. How long did you own that house?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:06:00] About three years!
Warren Dow: [00:06:01] And did you make a profit?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:06:02] I most certainly did.
Warren Dow: [00:06:04] Did that right there say hmm real estate’s interesting.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:06:08] I had already started buying a little bit of I started dabbling in investment properties. So, when I bought that one and then I started converting commercials into TV series, I would take my studio bonuses, or I would take these lovely paychecks and I would buy investment properties. So, while my co-stars were buying.
Matching Aston Martin’s and jet skis, I was buying little Craftsman Homes around Chapman University in Orange.
Warren Dow: [00:06:35] You were doing the smart thing, well done Cindy,
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:06:37] So I did it as more as a hobby.
Warren Dow: [00:06:38] Yeah. Yeah some so how did you fall into you are also a fashion designer at one point. How did that come about?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:06:44] towards the end of my acting career?
I was on a really great show, Jag. I don’t know if you remember it remember and we were a top ten show for 11 years and I was very proud of it. I was a little bit of their comedy relief on the show and I got pregnant with my twins and so I shot until I was nine months pregnant and when I left because I didn’t want to work those hours anymore with the twins HSN approached me and said would you like to do a fashion line a celebrity fashion line for HSN, so I created it.
Did it for HSN and then QVC offered me a larger contract; went to QVC and then the shopping channel in Canada. So, I was selling out 10,000 units a minute. It was fun. It was really fun, brought the boys on the set with me. It was it was a good time. Yeah, I love it.
Warren Dow: [00:07:34] So look at this Trilogy. So, you were a model and actress a fashion designer and then how the heck do we get into real estate?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:07:46] Well, with every other career I had, I would take my money and buy real estate. You know, I now have several Craftsman Homes down in Orange like I mentioned a couple apartment buildings to income properties up here along with our main home here, So it’s, something I have truly had a passion for I think that’s really what motivates me and generates me in this business now is a full-time profession is I believe in it, you know, I love it.
Warren Dow: [00:08:13] So what was the impetus like when you say hmm? I’m gonna get my license, did you get your license before just for an investor kind of a situation?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:08:21] When I left Jag again, it was because of the Twins and I just really wanted to be home with them and those hours on a show like Jag I had to be on set by 4:45 in the morning.
Sometimes I wouldn’t get home until 10. So, there’s no way I was going to do that with newborns. So, I did the clothing line when I left Jag and then that started to require a lot of travel as well. Wanted to stay home with the twins and when they started preschool is actually when I got my license, I thought okay, they’re in preschool.
I’ll get my license and I’ll just do it at my leisure and have fun. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever done anything at my leisure. I’m all in, go big or go home. So, I got my license when the twins started preschool and just…
Warren Dow: [00:09:10] Where did you hang your license? Which broker?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:09:12] Originally, it was Coldwell Banker in the Palisades.
Okay with Robbie Sedway.
Warren Dow: [00:09:16] Okay cool. So, tell me about your first sale.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:09:20] My first sale. Well, it’s a Kind of a funny story… So, when I was studying for my license, my husband booked a trip for us to Mexico. So, we’re at the Palmilla. So, I’m at the Palmilla. I’m in the hammock drinking my strawberry daiquiris.
I’m reading, you know, all my printouts and highlights to take my test that following Friday. So, I you know vacationing and studying for my exam. So, I go in the pool take a break on the pool cool off and this girl comes up to me because I have to tell you I really admire you’re a woman on a vacation and you’re over there working.
You know, I just what are you doing? I said, oh real estate. This is the Friday before I got my license. She’s oh my gosh. We’ve been trying to sell our home in Newport for you know, a year-and-a-half. Do you think you know, where do you live? And I said oh Santa Monica, but I grew up in Orange County.
Well, do you think you’d come and take a look at our house? We have it listed at 15 million on Linda aisle, and I’m just so impressed with your dedication to your clients I said, my clients need me and got my license two weeks later went and met with her and that was my first listing
Warren Dow: [00:10:28] Your first listing as a $15 million-dollar estate?!
My very first
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:10:31] listing.
So, I hung my I went into Coldwell Banker in the Palisades and I said, I don’t know how to fill out a purchase contract. I don’t know what a request for repair is, but I think you can teach me. I’ve got a $15 million-dollar listing. So took the listing, sold their home and then sold them two property side by side.
One four $9 million one for $5 million in little Corona down there and kinda of beginner’s luck. I don’t know but it was
Warren Dow: [00:10:55] Wow.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:10:56] It was a great start.
Warren Dow: [00:10:57] That’s what we’re that’s so cool. What would that house be worth today? I mean like that 15 million
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:11:03] Linda Aisle because and you know, it’s the last to fall in the first to recover in any market so gosh, I don’t know
Warren Dow: [00:11:09] I mean a lot more.
Uh, oh, yeah. Yeah. That is that’s hilarious so far.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:11:15] That is oh my gosh true story.
Warren Dow: [00:11:17] When you come out of the gate that strong. Did you do that kind of screw you up on some level? It’s saying God it’s this is gonna be so easy. I just like literally got my license. I just I
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:11:26] don’t think I ever go into anything with the mindset that this is going to be so easy ever personally or professionally.
I think I go into everything with the mindset of I’ve got this. If I work really hard and I pay attention and I’m smart. I’ve got this so I felt like with that, that was you know, it wasn’t easy by any means I was commuting back and forth to make those deals happen and put it all together and I had great support by the manager at the time.
And so no, I didn’t think at all. It was easy, but it excited me. For sure, and I thought it was fun and it just made me love it even more.
I’m afraid you will for the sake of your passion,
but I wasn’t naive to think that it was always going to be like,
Warren Dow: [00:12:08] yeah, and you remember how many deals you did your first year how many transactions?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:12:12] I don’t remember?
I do remember the first year being named top one percent in the nation that first deal probably helped that.
Warren Dow: [00:12:20] Your office is probably who the heck is a Cindy girl just she drops in and just unloads the 15 million dollar listing in her first day on the
job it was.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:12:29] It was fun.
Warren Dow: [00:12:30] What’s your biggest sale today?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:12:31] I think my biggest sale today was Jeff Franklin’s that I did on Collingwood. Jeff Franklin is the writer Creator producer of Full House. Okay, he wrote A series for me in the 90s. So, we’ve remained very good friends ever since I, I just I love him, and he built a gorgeous Veeck house. And so, I think that might be my biggest sell.
It was 20 to 22.5. That’s cool. Yeah,
Warren Dow: [00:12:57] What was your biggest failure mistake or lesson learned thus far?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:13:02] I don’t I would not look at anything as a failure ever again personally professionally. I don’t like to look at things that way I truly believe that if something happens there’s a lesson in it might be a teaching moment.
I don’t ever look at it as a failure lesson learned. I think it’s a mistake to think that any two deals are alike. So, you can never go on automatic pilot, thinking that I will focus on the outcome. You can never attach yourself to the outcome. You have to honor the process of each deal the outcome will happen.
No two deals are alike. So, it’s a mistake to think great, I’ve got something in escrow. Let’s do all the paperwork like we do every other paperwork. Let’s just do the inspections. Everything’s going to be exactly like the last one. It’s never like the last one. Yeah, every house has something new and if you’re not on your toes, In anticipation of that.
It’s a huge mistake, huge lesson learned. So, I think I think with each deal I’ve learned things. I went, uhh. I wish I would have thought of that and I think that I’m usually ten steps ahead because I’m a little bit of a control freak that way. So, I do Hand hold clients through the deals but there’s always something that makes you later say oh, I wish I would have.
Caught that or known that so maybe wasn’t honest with you and you wish you would have picked up on that because now there are consequences to pay for their bad behavior and you’re having to do damage control. There are all sorts of scenarios.
Warren Dow: [00:14:21] What makes this business, you know, fun and crazy at the same time, right? There’s so many moving parts so many variables
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:14:27] That you have no control over you can only do your best to help manage.
Warren Dow: [00:14:31] Yeah, it’s very what to say just to give the audience some context into some of your accomplishments and you’d only been doing this for 12 years. And your first sale was $15 million.
Oh my gosh, you’ve accomplished some amazing things. I don’t want to just for audience rattle off a few of these. So, you’re ranked number 20 in California, number 40 in the nation. As measured by sales volume in just 12 years you have over $750 million in sales volume.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:14:59] Thank you.
Warren Dow: [00:15:00] You’ve been recognized by all the major media Outlets is a top producing agent in LA.
And in the nation your longtime LA resident you have a deep understanding of the luxury Market your connections your sphere and you know, the clientele on the west side and you’re familiar with OC as well, which is very unique to have that cross-over. And you’re also involved in several charitable organizations including giveback homes ALS and PS Arts.
So, I want to just congratulate you and all your hard-earned success.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
And we’ve only just begun
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:15:34] Right, we’ve Only Just Begun.
Warren Dow: [00:15:36] So let’s talk about the hyper competitive world of LA real estate. I think LA you know, and as a publisher of DIGS, we have obviously we operate in South Bay and Westside.
And it is some of the most competitive you know, and it’s interesting a lot of it’s more Frenemies. Have you heard that term?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:15:54] Oh, yeah
Warren Dow: [00:15:55] Where you know everyone’s friendly but like the moment the deals’ on or it’s like you know, the daggers are well cloaked. Well hidden, but it’s right it’s so
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:16:05] yeah suddenly they’re going for the jugular.
Warren Dow: [00:16:08] Yeah. So, let’s talk about you were previously with The Agency for about four years and you’ve recently moved to Compass. How’s the move why the move?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:16:17] The moves’ been great, you know, it was a really big decision for me to make, I love The Agency. Love Mauricio. I left on very good terms. It was really tough decision for me, a very emotional decision for me and but I wanted to go in a different direction.
I definitely wanted to grow a team which I had never done. I’ve always done it myself with an assistant and I just really felt the desire to grow a team and Compass was offering me so, so much support in that that was huge to me. And umm I also really felt that the tech information the tech support at Compass is second-to-none and coming here now it is it is so everything they’ve told me they were going to do that and more.
So, it’s better. It’s been a very positive move, a very difficult decision. And now after the fact a very positive move know,
Warren Dow: [00:17:13] That’s a big move, someone of your caliber moving always creates like oh, what’s that about?
You know, I’m curious, personally like The Brokerage and there’s been a lot of disruption in the space… Is the broker
let’s go to the home seller… How important to them is the broker versus the agent? Because really, they’re hiring you and your expertise and what you bring to the table, right? But how important is it getting? How important is it? A) would be the question and, B) would be does.
It really makes a difference like in terms of how they View getting the
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:17:50] deal. That was it. That was that’s a great question. And it’s one that I had when I was considering leaving The Agency, I thought. Well, let me go speak to my clients first. So, they were my first calls. I sat down with every client I had, every listing, buyer and I said how do you feel about this? Because we’re in this together and when I have these listings and I’ll be leaving The Agency going to Compass. How do they feel about that? And I had every single person 100% across-the-board say Cindy we’re with you, because of you.
We don’t care where you go. As long as it’s with you, so as long as we stay with you and we know that you’re the one on the other end of the phone. You’re the one here. We don’t care who you’re with if you think it’s a good decision, if you think you’re going to get the support that’s going to continue to help support us then we trust you.
So whatever decision you make were fine with as long as we’re with you and that was that was my biggest concern, you know, and I was speaking with compass. I told them I said, I don’t know how my clients are going to feel about it. So, I, I’m a very transparent person. I don’t beat around the bush.
I don’t assume this would, I go straight and have conversations and in doing that with my clients? It made me realize that the buyers and sellers care more about their relationship with their agent. Then they do with the brokerage. Now if the brokerage had a bad reputation, if the brokerage had cheated them in some way the past in their mind that it happened, they would probably frown on it, but maybe you just going you know, across the board.
It’s about the agent and the agent relationship with the client.
Warren Dow: [00:19:27] That’s great. And I think that’s one of your differentiators right there. But because I love the fact that you’ve mentioned them first versus you. Let me ask them. It’s about them
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:19:38] Always
Warren Dow: [00:19:39] That’s what the most successful agents and people in business and life, you know, it’s always you got to make it about your customer and make it that’s and then reverse engineer from there. So yes, well done. That’s definitely a differentiator. So, with the move to Compass. What do you think of all this this consolidation that’s going on in in real estate?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:19:58] As far as all the merges and
Warren Dow: [00:20:01] all?
Compass has been the biggest sort of acquirer in the last two or three years right with starting with completely let mean partner especially in LA I mean they gobbled up a lot of right. So, what do you think about all this stuff?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:20:14] I think growth is fantastic when it’s efficient and I have strong feelings about that because we’ve seen companies grow without the infrastructure to support the growth.
We’ve seen companies just bring on anybody in order to build, those aren’t good situations and what I’ve witnessed with Compass as they’ve continued to get bigger and bigger they’ve also not lacked at all in their efficiency, you know, they’re still as we just acquired another, you know several big hitters, you know big agents and another company, I can still pick up the phone and within 20 minutes I have a return phone call from marketing from advertising from TCI. Get that response. So, if it was growing and it was getting bigger and bigger and bigger and we didn’t have the infrastructure and it wasn’t efficient. Then I would say this is a big mistake.
I’m not feeling it at all.
Warren Dow: [00:21:10] They’re handling the growth.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:21:12] Yeah. Yeah,
Warren Dow: [00:21:13] So let’s get back to the agent and the hyper-competitive. Would you any store like war stories to share like it because you have a lot of the you know, the guys on TV.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:21:24] Yeah,
Warren Dow: [00:21:25] Is it is it friendly or do you guys just put up with each other or is it really like, don’t get in my way.
Don’t bother me.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:21:31] Well, I don’t think it’s get out of my way. Don’t bother me. I mean this morning I was texting an agent at 7:45 because and I said call me after eight whenever it’s good for you and she picked up the phone right away and called me. She was hi, honey. You know, it’s that kind of relationship.
Those are the ones that let me just put it this way in our business we have agents who are agents. Do you know what I mean by that, so I don’t just support my clients. I support other agents. I’ve been a mentor to countless agents. I’ve supported agents and help them, and several have helped me.
So, we do have a group of agents who are really great and we’re great and we do compete, but we do it respectfully and then there are agents who truly believe to win at all costs. And unfortunately, we all know who those agents are. And, they may think they’re getting away with it, but word is out and then people choose not to work with them
Warren Dow: [00:22:31] Makes them harder for them to get deals done.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:22:33] Right 100% So, you know, we know the good agents we know the ones that we can count on the ones that we can trust, and you know in this business it’s got to be done with more respect. It really does it needs to maybe slow the roll and stop and reflect, because we have agents doing things. They should not be doing and then everyone gets caught up in the in the turmoil of it because you’re going to deal with them.
Yeah, and it’s just a shame and it’s unnecessary, but we do have it. I believe that’s probably in every industry. But in this industry, the stakes are very high. You don’t get paid unless you close the deal. And so, a lot of people just believe, do whatever you have to do to get the deal closed apologize later, but you can’t sustain that in this business.
Warren Dow: [00:23:20] Do you think like these TV shows is reality TV shows like Million Dollar Listing. You think it’s been bad for the market and the perception of the market and the perception of actually agents like yourself?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:23:32] No, I don’t think it’s bad for the more. I think it’s entertaining. I think it’s entertaining.
Warren Dow: [00:23:37] Yes, okay.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:23:39] All right, no more leave it at that. It’s not real. I mean, it’s just not real and so then when you have clients saying oh, well, I was watching such-and-such show and they did this and they had swimming ballerinas. I want those, it’s television and God bless them, but it’s
interesting because I love I love this this industry and I’m a student of the game.
By the way, I’m a business economics major. So, I’m a nerd like you when it comes to numbers..
Super nerd, like you.
Warren Dow: [00:24:10] So I always interested. I like to get in the sellers’ head, whenever I meet a seller if we’re to cover shoot or just whatever I always go. Like, why did you choose your age and I try to get in their heads and what tell me your motivation and how you and at one point one of those the guys on the TV.
Got one really big listing in the South Bay and literally the value proposition to the seller was whether they’re there on TV they’re there and it’s like really, that was the criteria, you know the hire, so it’s interesting and I don’t you know,
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:24:44] Perception is reality.
Warren Dow: [00:24:45] Yeah, it’s interesting how that world works.
Yeah. Alright seems like especially in LA West LA many of these super high-end listings 50 million plus and there’s a bunch. It seems like the trend is I’ve noticed that’s maybe I’m wrong. I want to ask your opinion that there’s more co-listing going on than it used to be one, you know agent now, it’s multiple brokerages and multiple high-end agents sometimes four. Sometimes I’ve seen six agents on the on a…
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:25:12] And 6 is crazy. Yeah, that’s just crazy.
Warren Dow: [00:25:15] So what are your thoughts is it is the perception from the seller that oh, I’m going to get all this more marketing or coverage or networking.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:25:23] Did you see it that way? I think that when a seller is interviewing, you know multiple agents at that level, right?
And they might find to that they really like and why not hire both of them and get two for the price of one because those agents are having to now share their commission, so that the sellers not. Paying double, the sellers paying the exact same commission and the listing agents are agreeing to split their Commission in half.
So, why not? If you’re a seller and you’re at that high-level and you want to make sure that you’re getting you know, different marketing and coverage from two different Brokers and you like both of the of the agents from the different brokerages. Why not? And if the agents get along and work harmoniously together that can only help you. Right? Some strength in numbers.
Warren Dow: [00:26:09] It’s a great point and you think about it. If it’s a Coldwell and you know Compass and Douglas Elliman and The Agency, you got you get to enter all those ecosystems and get all the marketing so..
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:26:21] I’m co-listing two properties right now with two Agency agents. One up in San Francisco on Broderick it’s the Full House house, actually and then one here in Santa Monica Canyon and even then it’s just great because I’m doing completely different marketing and digital marketing and so forth then my co-listing agents are at The Agency and they work really well together…
Warren Dow: [00:26:49] That’s awesome.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:26:49] …And the seller gets the benefit off them.
I’m not a greedy agent. I’m about my client and what works for them and I don’t want anything to fall through the cracks. So, if I feel like I’m getting really busy and I’m listing heavy. I don’t ever want a client to feel like a showing couldn’t happen that day because I was in 15 other places.
So that’s when it’s wonderful to have a super capable co-listing agent to call and say. “Hey, can you cover the showing today?” The client always comes first. So, you worry about your commission later. The client always comes first, and if it means splitting your commission, but nothing falls through the cracks, that’s what you do.
Warren Dow: [00:27:27] Alright, I want to put you on the spot a bit Cindy, why would a luxury home consumer choose you? So, you have a $15-18 million-dollar listing appointment in the Palisades and four of your other top competitors are there along with you and they’re doing a listing, you know presentation. Why should they hire you over those one of those other four?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:27:48] I can guarantee that nobody is going to, personally handhold and care for that client the way that I will, and I have proven it over and over and over again. I don’t take a listing and then pawn it off. I speak to the clients directly every day. I show up for the showings. I listen to them, I sit down.
So why are you selling? What’s your motivation behind selling? We do it together and there is a real sense of comfort with my clients knowing that. They again call me at 11 o’clock at night. They called me at 7:00 in the morning if they need to talk and it doesn’t matter how wealthy they are. It doesn’t matter how financially secure they are.
They still get nervous during these transactions. They need somebody who listens to them, who puts their needs first. And as I mentioned earlier, I never attach myself to the outcome. I honor the process which and my process that is caring for my client taking care of the client making sure I’m seeing problems before they happen.
I’m anticipating things before always walking them through talking them through, talking them off a ledge. I do that personally, every day, every minute of every day and then the outcome happens and. I think that would be the main reason I would say my clients trust me.
Warren Dow: [00:29:13] I love it. And you said it with conviction and for the audience’s context, Cindy was staring at me intensely during that, so she’s all in and she’s committed.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:29:22] I mean what I say.
Warren Dow: [00:29:23] That was awesome. Yeah, that was your on button right there, and I was like, okay Cindy’s, you know, ready!
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:29:29] Matters to me.
Warren Dow: [00:29:30] I love it. Did you hear about the Realogy deal with Amazon offering the 5,000 bucks? What do you think of that?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:29:37] I really haven’t given it much thought, to be honest with you. My clients haven’t asked me about it people I have, I haven’t heard a lot about it on the street, people aren’t you know giving it a ton of attention and concern I mean, you know, I don’t think it’s ever great to incentivize, you know, financially that way, but I don’t know enough about it and really to be honest with my clients have not even brought it up.
Warren Dow: [00:30:00] Yeah, it’s funny when we’re in the business, right? We think are you know, the sellers and buyers and they’re falling along industry like we are, and they’re not, like the no one knows anything. What’s really going on? In terms of these.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:30:12] Well, but buyers and sellers know a heck of a lot more than they did than they did when I got started.
for that exact reason when I got started, they would call and say Cindy, “What’s on the market that you can show us this weekend?
Now. Hi Cindy. I’ve studied Zillow I studied Redfin and I’ve studied the MLS. I know every single thing about this property, its history. What they paid for it, what they owe on it.
I mean our buyers and sellers are so much more sophisticated now than they ever were, but as far as my clients, they’re not paying attention to the $5,000 credit.
Warren Dow: [00:30:45] And then yeah, alright silly enough about real estate for a minute. Let’s have some fun. Shall we? Yeah, you’re married to actor Don Diamant.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:30:53] Yes. I am
Warren Dow: [00:30:55] Who was a very successful model before appearing on several popular soap operas including Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless and a bunch more. When did you meet?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:31:05] Well, he did more than appear on them. He was on Young and the Restless for 25 years…
Warren Dow: [00:31:10] He was the guy, yes,
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:31:11] …And then now Bold the Beautiful for the past 10.5.
So, he, I’m very proud of him because that’s talk about job security
and sustainability. That’s not easy. That’s not easy at all. He loves what he does. So, I met him when I think it was. I don’t even remember what show is doing at the time and I took a break and raced over, and I screen tested for Young and the Restless to play his wife.
There was an acting class I’d taken and the casting the casting director at the time. She said if Eileen Davidson ever leaves Young and the Restless. I’m calling you. You look so much like her that you would be perfect to play her role on Young and the Restless. I need two weeks later. So, she must have known something was going on Eileen left and sure enough.
They called me Jill Newton called me and said come in we want you to read. So, I came in and that’s how I met Donald. He I had no idea. He was a star of the show. I never watched it, and I suddenly am walking on onset and having to screen test with them.
Warren Dow: [00:32:15] Oh, that’s hilarious.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:32:15] It was great. So, we have the chemistry right away.
Warren Dow: [00:32:18] And yeah, that’s cool with your husband’s career and your entertainment background. Does it make it you think more like difficult with being a distraction kind of thing being in that Spotlight with the like with who you’re sort of hobnobbing with and or does it make it sort of easier? Like in the industry?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:32:36] But I’m sorry what do you mean by a distraction?
Warren Dow: [00:32:39] Like, if you’re always having to show up and be in the entertainment sort of mindset or in that in that world can it distract from Real Estate or is it actual helpful?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:32:50] Oh I see what you’re saying. So well, we know it’s not a distraction in anyway, let’s just say that. The fact that my husband is in the entertainment world and I have my connections there, is no way a distraction. You know, we’re very normal in the sense. We are family oriented. We are home every night with our kids. We are up every morning. Packing lunches, making breakfast. We’re like, I’m like a short-order chef in the morning with all these kids lined up and want to go and everyone likes it just a certain way and we pack them fresh lunches every morning and send them off to school.
So, our priority is our family, so were not out, you know, 7 nights a week 5 nights a week even 4 nights a week hobnobbing and entertaining. It’s just not…
Warren Dow: [00:33:34] That’s what I was getting at
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:33:35] Not at all. It’s not our deal. We are very much about our family. That’s our priority.
That’s where our time is spent. Completely, but we do, you know, we enjoy getting dressed up and going out when we want to, but we never feel obligated. That’s good rather be home with our kids.
Warren Dow: [00:33:53] So you live in Santa Monica, your family why Santa Monica versus Palisades or Malibu like the Palisades?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:34:00] I love both the Palisades and Malibu they’re both phenomenal.
We just happened to love Santa Monica Canyon, Santa Monica Canyon. Is this super special little place and we have Santa Monica Canyon in Rustic Canyon and the neighbors and the friends around us. They’re lifers. You know, my kids went to Canyon Elementary School right there and even though they’ve now gone to Brentwood and they’ve all gone off to different schools.
They’re still friends with those they met at Canyon Elementary School and in the neighborhood. So, it’s something that’s just very special people who move their feel it and it’s been a wonderful Beach lifestyle for our kids.
Warren Dow: [00:34:36] So for the audience that doesn’t know where that is. Relative to the Third Street Promenade or something. Where is that exactly?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:34:42] Well, we’re one mile away from Third Street Promenade and half a mile from the sand. So, we are right there Santa Monica Canyon this great little Hideaway, that’s just up off of West Channel. You’ve got the stairs, the famous Santa Monica stairs right there. So, we’re Palisades adjacent.
We’re Brentwood adjacent, we’re Venice adjacent, we’re right there and this wonderful little pocket. And again, we’re all have all boys. Our world is outdoors. You know, we are we’re Outdoors Sports and we’re Outdoors every weekend. So being at the beach. I mean who doesn’t love that?
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So, tell us a funny can’t believe it happened real estate story. I’m sure you got a few.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:35:49] The very first one. I talked about earlier in Newport Beach. So I had my very first Caravan for that $15 million dollar property and I had it catered, my mom was there and we are hosting this huge agent Caravan and I have about 75 agents sipping mimosas out on the boat dock because it’s gorgeous boat slip and it was just this amazing afternoon and all of a sudden, an agent comes running up.
“You have a problem upstairs?” So, what problem? Cindy, your bathtub is overflowing! I said, my what? And, so my mom and I go running up stairs… somebody an agent had clogged the bathtub, they closed the bathtub and then turn on the waterfall the water falls into the bathtub.
The bathtub had overflowed. It was all over the entire bathroom floor. Just rolling on out to the deck off the master bath and it was within maybe five/ six inches from becoming a waterfall over the deck onto the heads of all of the mimosa-sipping agents down below. So, I cannot… My mom’s grabbing towels, we’re grabbing towels were trying to block the water from going down.
I said, “Mom cover me” and she watches the door to make sure no one comes up. I have to pull my skirt up all the way to my waist put my leg into the tub and with my toe pull up the cork that was in the in the tub because it was too deep for me to reach into and…
Like never a dull moment real estate.
So, later I couldn’t even believe somebody would do this. We got it all cleaned up. The day was a success and like two days later. An assistant called me from Orange County, and she said I just have to apologize. My boss is the one who did that. She was upset. She didn’t get the listing and she you’re an out of the area agent and she was super offended by it and she did that to sabotage your open.
Can you imagine and that was my very first listing, my very first Caravan and my very first experience with how low some people will go.
Warren Dow: [00:37:55] And you’re like, “Wow this business is cutthroat.”
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:37:57] and I thought 22 years is an actress was tough, right? That’s a walk in the park compared to what’s going on.
Now. I rolled my sleeves up and said, “Okay, it’s on!”
Warren Dow: [00:38:07] That’s that is hilarious. Do you have any other any other cool stories like that?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:38:11] Oh, I mean, I have so many I you know, we are watching Bridesmaids and there’s an episode with oh gosh. What’s that wonderful comedians named where she’s climbing the gate and she’s climbing the gate the gate opens by the nanny in the morning.
I had that exact same thing happened to me. The agent gave me the wrong keys and the wrong clicker when I took over the listing, so I was trying to climb over to get to the other side to get it open, the alarm is going off. I’m trying to get in the house to turn off the alarm. She just sabotaged this whole thing, literally as I’m up on top of this gate this huge gate, the housekeeper pulls up.
And she clicks the clicker and I’m on the gate as it’s now slowly opening into the property. It was like a bull ride. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. I mean I could just go on.
Warren Dow: [00:39:04] That is hilarious. That’s great. See you see real estate isn’t all numbers and there’s a lot of shenanigans going on. A lot of fun.
So, let’s talk about the real estate market, real quick. It seems like, you know, talk to 10 people you get 10 different perspectives, but we’re at the or near the end of a real estate cycle, you know every 10-8-10 years, right?
What are your thoughts on where this market is and where it’s going?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:39:28] So, I think maybe having had so many years as an actor as you’re only as good as your next job, right, and I’m used to the roller coaster, you know, you know the you have to be patient until the next job.
You have to be patient till the next deal, it’s the same thing here. So, the highs and lows don’t scare me. That’s all I know and so I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of, we are not crashing. Nobody sees a crash. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy correction. I think a healthy correction has kept all of us in business.
You cannot keep going up and if you go up to steep then you’re going to fall even steeper. Correct. So gradual inclines and then gradual declines, it’s healthy and it’s necessary. And so, there’s nothing in my opinion that we should be worrying about. These are healthy corrections that need to take place. Interest rates are low, interest rates are great right now.
Yeah, it’s actually opened up the door for a lot of buyers to be able to step up where they didn’t think they
Warren Dow: [00:40:32] Well said. Do you think you think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves in terms of like the crazy development that’s gone on the westside where you have like $200-300 million-dollar spec homes?
And is it, is that too much? Is that like are we pushing envelopes?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:40:47] It’s just that LA is in such a bubble, you know, we’re in such a bubble compared to the rest of the country. And, I think Beverly Hills especially and now that has, you know overflowed onto the Westside and we are seeing it and I don’t think, I don’t think it’s a smart move.
I just don’t. I think we need to build homes people want to buy, I think we need to build homes for the community and neighbors sell neighborhoods and I feel strongly about that. So I don’t think neighbors also want a big 20,000-30,000 square foot house, a monster going up next to them, they want a community.
So, I think that we need to pay attention to that a little bit more carefully. And I think, that being that we have been in a bubble and a lot of people have made a lot of money. Well then, they get a little bit. Well, I made this much money, how much more can I make, and they can get a little overly ambitious and I think that starts to get dangerous. You know for the builders, and I think that we witnessed that a few years ago and now builders are doing great again, and now we’re witnessing them sitting a little inventory heavy.
Warren Dow: [00:41:57] They always get caught, it’s funny because, the they double-down triple-down…
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:42:01] Stay on course…and if it’s working for you, stay on course, to steer too far away from, from what you know, and what’s worked for you and the formula it’s worked for you and now suddenly, I’m going to steer away from that. I’m going to go, you know bigger, well again, that makes it and we’re finding the homes are sitting, you know buyers are not stupid, buyers are not going to overpay!
Warren Dow: [00:42:26] And what about the international money that’s been coming over. Is that slowing down? Have you seen that?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:42:31] Yeah, that has slowed down. That has slowed down, and we have phenomenal domestic buyers.
You know, we have great buyers from Texas. We’ve got, you know coming into LA, we’ve got great San Francisco buyers coming down and we have New York. We do have a lot from London, you know internationally, a lot still. In that market they think we’re giving prices, away. We’re giving homes away and our prices are really low.
So, it’s all comparable, right?
Warren Dow: [00:42:58] Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah, Cindy. Let’s talk about my favorite subject for a minute, marketing.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:43:04] I like marketing. Alright.
Warren Dow: [00:43:06] As a very successful entrepreneur yourself. You understand branding and to me branding is hugely important. And the real estate industry, tell me about how you’ve developed your personal brand.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:43:17] Well, I think you’re right. I think branding, is extremely important and I don’t know that all agents understand how imperative it is. Brandings’ really important, cause it’s also very personal and when you have so many agents out there and they’re all hustling and they’re all working what differentiates one from another.
Right, so it’s branding. So, what is your brand? Are you a luxury brand? Are you the people’s brand are you a selfish brand? Literally, your brand tells the public so much about who you are, my brand and I’ve always focused on it, is one that’s very personal. It’s very approachable. I want my clients to trust me, always so my branding is an open book to who I am as a person, and it’s very luxury driven.
So, branding identifies who you are, it helps set you apart from all the others.
Warren Dow: [00:44:08] Well said, and I think what you hit on before is and I think this is one of the reasons why your brand and you are so successful, is because you are so authentic, you are as you are, and you’re you, and nothing else.
You’re not trying to be this or that.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:44:24] I think I think that’s a compliment.
Warren Dow: [00:44:26] It’s an absolute compliment, because yeah, it’s I think and we deal with a lot of agents obviously, in our business and I find a lot of agents, you know, they want branding. They don’t really understand it, and the first mistake they make is they’re not authentic with it.
They’re trying to be someone. They’re trying to position themselves as somebody else. Which never goes the right way.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:44:50] It never goes the right way, whether it’s business or personal. So, when you try to portray yourself as something that you want people to believe, or someone that you want them to see you as, that’s completely different than actually being your authentic self. Putting it out there for people to gravitate towards and you can’t control the narrative of who you are.
You have to let people figure that out. And I am who I am. Good or bad right or I am who I am. I try really hard to always let clients in and know who I am personally, professionally what my personal boundaries are, and just wear my work ethics are. So, I think it’s just extremely important that you let people actually just get to know you and make their own decisions, as opposed to always trying to control the narrative through branding.
This is who I am. I’m such a good guy because… No! Put out who you are, what you believe in, and people will come to you.
Warren Dow: [00:45:53] Yeah, so let me throw you a little bit of a curveball Cindy. So, if today was your very first day in real estate, you have no brand. Today’s your first day. You just got your business card.
What would your marketing plan look like, the initial phase of your marketing plan, and in terms of building a brand?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:46:10] Introducing who I am. 100% who I am. What I represent, what I want to do in this business and how, based on my authenticity, my work ethic, my genuine belief in who I am, and how I can help my customer, my clients.
Warren Dow: [00:46:29] Tell me. If you think this is crazy, I come across, highly successful agents, all the time. Who have just you know secured and sold a huge significant listing, $10 million listing and. say by fortune, sold in 10 days. And we’ll have a chat, and I’ll be like “Hey, what are you doing with the marketing?
Oh, they’ll say I’ve sold that listing. So thankfully, I don’t need to do any marketing. What are your… Like this drives me bananas, because it’s like that’s, your best opportunity to put your brand with a $10 million dollar listing and to tell the market, how you performed with a $10 million dollar listing and there’s a million stories you can iterate and tell from that, but they choose not to think it is. It’s a cost and there’s no association with brand. What are your thoughts on that?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:47:29] Well, I think, that’s right what you’re saying. I think that’s they’re focusing more on. Oh, because I sold it quickly. I didn’t have to invest any money into the listing into the marketing.
I see it as a hugely missed opportunity. Because listings generate more listings, right? And so, when you conduct yourself appropriately in a listing and you’re successful in a listing, and you have a $10 plus million-dollar home, like you said that sells in 10 days. Well, don’t you want to Skywrite that? Don’t you want to talk about that and let the market know, look what I just did for this client?
I just presented it to the market in such a way, that we blew out in 10 days! Which also tells the market that you know how to present, meaning, not just your marketing or advertising or Caravan, but also you must have put some strategy behind the pricing. Because if it’s overpriced, it’s the kiss of death and it sits right. So, by promoting that you just sold a $10 million-dollar home in 10 days, promoting it you’re letting the market know, that you know what it takes to move the property. And you must have had some great strategy behind that listing. Use that as an opportunity.
Warren Dow: [00:48:44] Absolutely, and it’s funny because most agents, and I don’t know what I don’t say most but a lot of agents disassociate their listing inventory as a separate sort of line-item expense,
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:48:55] I’ll tell you sometimes, I have to stop like maybe six months into the year. I have to stop, and I have to go back and look and say.
I’ve spent how much in marketing and I don’t even realize how much I’m spending. I just know what I need to do. So, I’m out there doing what I need to do for each home. I don’t put a budget on it. I don’t put a cap on it. I don’t allocate. Oh, these funds to this property, these funds to that property.
I just do what I need to do to really set the tone for the property, to list it and present it to the market in a manner in which you know, it deserves. So, I catch myself quite often halfway through the year and wait, what am I spending? Because my accountant will bring it to my attention sure, I think if you are focused on that, you’re focused on the end result. You’re attaching yourself to the outcome as opposed to the process, which I know we spoke about earlier.
Warren Dow: [00:49:48] That’s great. I look at it this way, you have a fiduciary responsibility as a licensed agent to represent a seller, you know, the home listing in your best capacity, right?
That’s the market it and do all the things you’ve got to do, right? You also have a fiduciary responsibility, to grow your business and to be viable and to be sustainable. Right. Yeah, and this is where when you invest, it’s investing in your brand. It’s an investment.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:50:15] And who better to invest in, than yourself? Who better, if you don’t believe in you, and if you don’t believe in you as a capable agent out there, then how can your client?
How can your client believe in you if you don’t? And investing in yourself, investing in you, and your business and who you are? It starts with you. And therefore, you know that if you do this, you’re going to be better equipped to help your client. That allows your client also to see have confidence in you and to see that they can trust you, with their business.
Yeah, you know what chipping out on yourself, you can chip out on that, right?
Warren Dow: [00:50:53] Absolutely, and it’s a win-win, if you’re investing in your brand, you’re investing in your client. It’s a win-win, right?! A lot of agents that I come across, in a weird way they view their businesses like a mattress store.
And they think of marketing is like, “Hey, it’s the one-time sale, I’ll buy, or I’ll spend money to sell this mattress, this home, you know, and then I’ll be done with it. And it’s on to the next mattress.” It’s not like that, homes have a long sale cycle, right?!
And, you constantly have to be investing in your brand, and you use the inventory you guys are all in the content marketing business. And what’s the content? It’s the homes you sell. If you have no homes to sell, then tell a story on how you can sell homes…
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:51:33] I think it’s interesting, you say that the content is the home. It’s kind of like in marketing, you talk about the product, like you just talked about the mattress right, and marketing the mattress as the product.
I’m also the product. Of course, so it’s not just the client, and the client’s home. I’m the product. So, I also have to market and brand myself in order to market and brand my clients property.
Warren Dow: [00:51:57] Absolutely, but it’s isn’t it easier and better to associate yourself with the mattress or together using the mattress?
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:52:04] 100 percent.
We don’t want to resell the mattress, because that’s kind of gross right?
Warren Dow: [00:52:09] That’d be gross. Yeah, so it’s interesting.
Yeah, and this is why I love marketing, because… And this is why I’m passionate about what we do at DIGS. Because, you guys have a tough gig. There’s 1.3 million real estate license real estate agents in the country.
You guys are all trying to do the same thing, represent buyers and sellers. You all theoretically can do the same things, right? In terms of all the paperwork and get this done, but 20 or less than 20% of you do most of the business, because you do it better. You do it, you understand it, you understand marketing and branding, and on and on.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:52:44] We don’t do the same thing. So, I hear you’re saying that there are a million point however, many of us, we can all do the same thing. We can fill out the paperwork. We all don’t do the same thing. And that’s what sets…
Warren Dow: [00:52:58] That’s the point. I was making
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:53:00] …sets the few apart.
Yeah. We don’t do the same thing. There are no two deals that alike. They’re all different, and even with my experience, and you can ask other high-end agents out-there. They’ll tell you the same thing no two deals are alike. So, everyone requires a different level of experience, and know-how and finessing with personalities and, how to keep peace with people, and to look 10-steps ahead to what might be happening in that deal to hopefully, you know to derail, you know, a big issue down the road, and make sure that doesn’t happen. So, not everyone’s equipped for that, and they’re instead, like we talked about just filling out the paperwork and looking for the commission check.
That doesn’t get it done. Mmm.
Warren Dow: [00:53:44] Do you do you recommend to a new agent; do you recommend them focusing on being a listing agent or a buyer’s agent or how would you advise? Like a newer agent.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:54:00] Well, when I first got started, what was advised to me, by everybody I respected, and as I started to meet agents, and really know who the big players were, I asked questions.
I was never ashamed of asking questions. I asked that exact question and one hundred percent of them said, listings. They said listings create more listings. Buyers are wonderful; I like working with buyers a lot, I have fun helping them search for their home. But you know, when you have a listing, they already have the home.
They’ve invested in that home, their hearts in that home. And you get a chance to work with them, on moving that property, which is a big emotional thing for them as well, not just financial. And moving them from that home to another place. And also, listings bring more listings, because when you have open houses or you have caravans, or you have the marketing and advertising in DIGS and elsewhere, people are seeing it, they get to know your name. And then they come in and meet you and you get a chance to show them what you’re all about.
So, 100% I would agree with the mentors who advised me. Listings!
Warren Dow: [00:55:02] And it’s no coincidence that, listing agents we call them that. Quote-unquote listing agents, or those who pre-dominantly sell more listings than represent buyers, uh-huh make way more money.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:55:14] It’s is that true? Is that a stat?
Warren Dow: [00:55:15] Absolutely. Yeah,
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:55:16] I’ve never looked that up.
Warren Dow: [00:55:17] If you look at if you look at in just people like yourself and you say what’s your because, I always ask I’m like the mad scientist when I meet somebody, like you, I’ll say, what’s your, let’s talk about your business.
What’s your what you’re listing to is to you know, the seller to buyer ratio? And you know where those where’s the geography around that? And the pie chart is always for people like you, it’s always 70/30 or 60/40, in terms of listings.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:55:44] I’ll bet those buyers were generated from listings.
Warren Dow: [00:55:48] Yeah.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:55:48] And then, a lot of the buyers exactly. I would guess, 90%, yeah for most agents those buyers were generated from listings.
Warren Dow: [00:55:58] So what you said, listing gets listings get more listings. They also get more buyers. They do. You know, they do a really good job marketing.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:56:05] It’s an it’s a win-win and then down the road after you’ve done it long enough then it becomes, you know so much more about referrals.
Warren Dow: [00:56:12] Yeah. Yeah, speaking of referrals. What’s interesting, another marketing thing. Referrals are 60-70 percent of the business. Once you grow your sphere and your referrals, right, but you can’t let your referrals sleep and you can’t be invisible to them.
You have to constantly be in their sphere, and this is where a lot of agents get it wrong again, where they’re saying? No, it’s just referrals. I don’t need to do any marketing because it’s all referrals, well those referrals are getting hit on by…
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:56:39] About a hundred million other agents, and don’t rest on your laurels because, I’m telling you, you might think, I had the best relationship with this client. I did so much for them. They were so grateful for all the hard work. We’ve had dinner several times after. Whenever they go to transact again for sure they’ll call me.
No, there is nothing for sure because they have like you just said how many other agents, approaching them at school, when they’re dropping kids off or at church or a temple or door-knocking or at the party wherever. They have everybody else asking for their business.
So, don’t ever assume that just because you did a great job for them once they’re going to continue to only work with you. They have influences from other agents approaching them constantly. So always stay in touch.
Warren Dow: [00:57:27] And I’ve heard so many stories from clients who say, I can’t believe I just lost this listing, you know, I’ll say, tell me more.
It’s a person. I’ve sold them two homes. I did this, I was there. What and they chose like, well, yeah, we act like you know, and it’s the same story. Well, I thought they were my client for life. You know, it’s like no.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:57:46] It’s yeah, and I had to tell you it’s happened to all of us. It’s happened to me.
It’s happened to you know, I literally, just had a conversation, I won’t say with whom, but huge. Everyone knows who she is. She’s fabulous, and I have great respect for, and she was extremely upset, that the client went elsewhere and she still scratching your head, and we don’t know if they discounted commission.
That’s her assumption. We don’t know if it just happened to be…she’s created a relationship with this person recently, and it was timing you don’t know. But it happens to everybody. So, you can’t just assume that they’re always going to come back to you. You can’t ever assume that.
Warren Dow: [00:58:29] The only thing you can assume safely is you need to say visible.
I have another story. That’s just a little bit tangential but we have a client who who’s been with us for years and years and years. Right? And he basically, this is going back a year, but he changed the name of his brokerage. He was going to start a new brand and blah blah blah, so he goes hey, I want to take a month off marketing my old real estate brand. while we get our assets together for a new branding and logo and blah blah blah. And so, he was out for a month, you know an honor he was not visible in our platform for a month and he called me, and he said I never believe what happened Warren, I got a call.
I have a I have a lifelong client who I’ve sold. He’s my I’ve sold him more real estate and investment properties and represented him. Six times let’s say in the last five or ten years and he called me and said hey, are you are you are you retired? Are you going out of business or did you close up and my clients said no, what that’s crazy.
Why do you say that? Because I haven’t seen you marketing!
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:59:35] You get so used to seeing them all the time that just two months not seeing them.
Warren Dow: [00:59:39] It was a powerful story to be just like hey, they’re watching they’re paying attention.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:59:43] That fast. They think you’ve gone away.
Warren Dow: [00:59:46] And so imagine if he was approached and he didn’t connect, you know, it’s like a lifetime client could be making other decisions.
So, you got to stay visible and you got to you got to stay frequent and he got to keep on it.
Cindy Ambuehl: [00:59:58] Always.
Warren Dow: [01:00:00] Here’s a question on a listing, marketing a listing. So, what’s your approach? If you had a 40-million-dollar listing, let’s say you just have two listings you just got yesterday ones a 40-million-dollar home and ones that 3-million-dollar home.
Is your approach the same to bring those to Market, is it different? Tell us how.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:00:18] Well I think to your point earlier about branding. I would say 90% of it is identical. Because it still comes from me, and it comes from the Cindy Ambuehl brand name and reputation. So therefore, I hold myself to a different standard.
So, the same thing for the 40-million dollar listing as the three-million-dollar listing, I would be doing. The DIGS ads, I would be doing all of my photography, videography, promotions date sided color brochures. I would be spending the money and promoting it because it’s expected people property and expose it to the market in an elevated level.
So, I wouldn’t suddenly be a different brand on a three million that I would on a 40. I think the only thing differently I would do on a 40 is usually when you have properties at that price point, they don’t necessarily always want an open house, or they don’t because they may have tremendous art in there and it’s there’s a liability in there.
They definitely want events with fast cars, and you know sushi what have you. So, as far as some of the details and some of the extra marketing, like events. Otherwise, no, I am so grateful for all of them and I want to do my best and put my best foot forward on all of them.
It’s part of the brand and by the way, luxury comes in a hundred different you know shapes and colors. It could be the sports car, right? That’s it or the private plane for the $40 million-dollar client and it could be luxury sheets and towels for the three-million-dollar buyer. It’s all relative.
So, in keeping that in mind, it’s about luxury.
Warren Dow: [01:01:50] That’s well said, again. That’s another differentiator. I think in a lesson for agents to learn, because a lot of agents will treat those differently can’t they won’t do the high-end photos or the video or whatever they’re going to.
You know they’re going
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:02:02] Because that $3 million-dollar listing is really important that three million dollars seller.
Warren Dow: [01:02:06] You’ve got to treat it as such and I have a backwards like, you know, don’t tell your sellers this, and I kind of joke about this, I don’t mean it that way really, but when agents say to me, like I’m just doing this to appease the seller, you know, I’m doing an ad, but it’s like hey, you have a fiduciary to the seller, number one, but again back to the fiduciary yourself your advertising and marketing a listing.
Yes, to try to sell it and expose it, right? But also, yes, to get more listings to sell.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:02:34] Your name is on it
Warren Dow: [01:02:35] Who’s investing in you?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:02:37] That’s right.
Warren Dow: [01:02:38] You spending a dollar, how much is going to you? Okay, it’s crazy, but I could talk about this, this is what again back passion because you guys have a very complicated business.
It’s fraught with complexity legalities and you know
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:02:50] personalities…
Warren Dow: [01:02:51] …Psychology’s and this and that, and yeah and marketing is its own separate animal, you do we this 24/7, it’s hard to keep up and stay relevant and stay on it. So, this is a passion for us, we love this.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:03:05] I love it too, and I love it too.
And when I was in college, I had a dual major. It was math and my minor was marketing/advertising. That’s cool. So, I really modeled my way through med school, it worked.
Warren Dow: [01:03:18] So Cindy how do you stay relevant as this industry continues to shift and evolve?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:03:22] I think it’s goes back to my old career; you know your audience.
Right. So, I think I just continue to pay attention to our ever-changing our evolving buyers and sellers. It’s so different than it was five years ago. It’s different than it was 10/15 years ago, it keeps changing. And so, you need to know your audience. Know, how are they finding properties? They used to just call us up and say hey, can you show me what you have, I can go out on Sunday and we’d pick them up and they would go where we took them on Sundays.
Now at their fingertips, they can pull up every property for however far they want to search prices. They can find out the home that they want to see, what the seller bought it for, what he’s made on it. What is put into it?
I mean our buyers today are so much more sophisticated. You have to be sure that you know more than they do. This is very good chance. They’ve done a lot more homework than even you have, because you’re busy working with, you know, ten different clients. They’re just focusing on their needs.
So, I think what’s really important and, in this market, and how its continuing to change, is stay on top of technology. Which is one of the reasons I made the move to Compass. Really stay on top of Technology, the stats, what’s happening in the market, what’s projected to happen? How can you best advise your clients based on their needs because they’re always different. People buy and sell for different reasons.
So, it’s really staying in touch with technology, how the buyer and seller are finding out information, find it out the same way, know it better.
Warren Dow: [01:04:51] When we have a client. You’ll appreciate this quote. He’s got a placard on his desk and I never forgot this. I love this this quote. He says my only source of income is my knowledge.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:05:05] I agree with that 100%. I love that.
Warren Dow: [01:05:07] Isn’t it? Great. Yeah, so true and your profession and what we’re doing. Knowledge is, and it’s becoming as a consumers are more empowered the buyers and sellers, right? Yeah, it’s getting harder and harder. So yeah, you have to say as educated, as sharp.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:05:19] Just know your stuff. And you know buyers and sellers, are way smarter than you think.
So, when I sit back and I watch some agents, just do a little tap dance and smoke and mirrors and they think they can you know pitch it and the seller or the bar they’re looking at them like. Dude, I know you’re not being straight. I know you don’t know your stuff. It’s embarrassing and so my advice to anybody is exactly to that point, know your stuff. And if you don’t know it so, you know, I’m not sure about that let me look into that, so I can get you the right answer. Those are trusting responses
Warren Dow: [01:05:52] Trust is how you earn a brand.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:05:54] 100%.
Warren Dow: [01:05:56] If you could define what makes you successful in three words, what would they be?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:06:01] Trust is always number one. Accountability. Hard-working.
Warren Dow: [01:06:07] Alright, let’s have some closing thoughts and have a little bit of fun. Even though we’re having fun. We’re having fun. Right?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:06:11] I’m always having fun.
Warren Dow: [01:06:14] Two pieces of advice you would you give your younger self?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:06:20] Oh, two pieces of advice, as a younger self, I would say, appreciate where you are in your life and just really take in that you have everything in front of you. You have everything to look forward to, you have so many stories yet to write. Just really embrace where you are and look ahead with excitement not fear.
Warren Dow: [01:06:45] If you could have one superpower, what would that be?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:06:49] If I could have one? This one makes me emotional. I would cure cancer, that would be my superpower.
Warren Dow: [01:06:59] So what could you tell the audience that they would be surprised to know about you?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:07:03] I don’t know that anyone be surprised to know anything about me because I lay it all out there on Instagram. People can go on my Instagram and they see my authentic self. They see where I’m from. They see my family. They see my office. They see my husband my children, inside my house. We’ve taken them on vacation with us.
Warren Dow: [01:07:22] So total transparency.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:07:23] I have yeah, I don’t know that there’s much that they’d be surprised to know.
Warren Dow: [01:07:27] This might be a bad question since you’ve been in the entertainment business for years and years. What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:07:33] Somewhere in Time. Jane Seymour, Christopher Reeves.
Warren Dow: [01:07:37] Favorite book?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:07:39] Mere Christianity, CS Lewis.
Warren Dow: [01:07:42] Cool, and you have a favorite like a business leader or leaders that you aspire to, or you know you appreciate their knowledge or anyone you like follow?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:07:51] I look in our industry, more for people who have stood the test of time with me, as either an agent, a broker, a manager, who always seems to be so level-headed, and I can always turn to and say “Hey, what would you do in this situation?”
But is there a Tony Robbins or something like that? Is that what you’re referring to? No, no
Warren Dow: [01:08:11] Any favorite vacation spot?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:08:15] Italy. So, whether it’s Rome or Capri,
Warren Dow: [01:08:19] That’s where I want to go, to Italy so bad. Never been. I’ve never been to Europe. What? I know.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:08:26] You have to go to Italy.
Italians are the warmest people. They’re the friendliest people, the food’s phenomenal, you can eat pasta, morning/noon/night and not gain weight because the food is so pure there. Yeah, it’s incredible. Oh, we go every year. It’s our favorite place. I’m gonna hook you up.
Warren Dow: [01:08:44] All right hook me up, when we go, I’ll say. Hey, Cindy where do I go? I’ll give the Cindy special.
So, is there anything else you want to tell our listening audience? You’ve been an awesome guest and I think we’ve learned a lot. Anything else in closing?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:09:03] Now in closing, you know, I hope that when you buy or sell a home and you know, you hire an agent, I hope it’s a great experience. I hope it’s a positive experience. I hope you know that it’s a team effort and that you really feel protected, and that you have somebody there looking out for you and handholding you the whole way through because it’s a scary process. And I hope you really have somebody that you can trust. And see it through to the finish line and make it a make it as positive fun experience.
My closing thought, on that closing thought, would be real estate is so it’s emotional. It’s the biggest asset normally in people’s lives that they’re transacting. Yep. So huge financial emotion, and just the emotion of moving on or what have you, so choosing an agent shouldn’t be done lightly.
It should not be done lightly. And I’m a mom of six boys.
I’m a little I’m a little protective by nature, so the mama bear comes out, you know, whether it would be with my children. Definitely with my clients, I want them to know, I’m here for them, and I have their back.
Warren Dow: [01:10:06] So there’s your new branding moniker ‘Mama Bear’
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:10:08] Mama Bear. I like it
Warren Dow: [01:10:09] You like that?
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:10:10] I like it a lot.
Warren Dow: [01:10:11] Alright, on that note. Thank you, Cindy.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:10:14] Thank you. I appreciate the time.
Warren Dow: [01:10:15] We’ll talk again soon.
Cindy Ambuehl: [01:10:16] I hope so.
Warren Dow: [01:10:23] And that wraps up this episode. Thank you for tuning in. We hope you found some value. Please share, subscribe, and leave a review. And find us on iTunes and your favorite podcast provider.
Until next time.
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